Ryan Mariategue, part of a coalition of art patrons, started a petition to ask the Corporation of Fine Arts Museums' Chief Administrative Officer, Michelle Gutierrez-Canepa to settle their nonprofit workers' contract. Ryan wrote, "We won our campaign by using an integrated strategy that consisted of grassroots organizing, mobilizing community support through rallies and social media, and utilizing relationships with caring politicians."
We are a coalition of art patrons, SF residents, and elected officials who believe that the nonprofit museum workers of the Corporation of Fine Arts Museums (COFAM) deserve a fair contract. We are petitioning Charlie Castillo, the head of human resources, and Michelle Gutierrez-Canepa who is COFAM’s chief administrative officer to bargain in good faith and settle this contract.
What workers do:
COFAM Museum workers handle the priceless collection of artwork owned by the city. They work with museum patrons in member services and accounting, they catalogue and register artworks coming and going, they build the exhibits and install the art, and they provide rich educational programs so that people can further appreciate the fine arts. They also staff the retail stores that generate revenue for the museums.
What we want:
The workers want to keep their wages on par with inflation and have an affordable healthcare plan so that they can take care of their families. They want to keep their union contract intact. These are securities that they currently have in their union contract. They don’t want big changes; they just want to keep what they have. Management has proposed a new damaging two-tier wage program and a costly healthcare plan which would jeopardize their livelihood.
What’s been happening:
They are being dragged through lengthy contract negotiations. Negotiations for COFAM historically last a few months. COFAM is now in their tenth month of bargaining. Management refuses to talk face to face with union members despite our repeated requests.
The museums saw a 19.2 million dollar increase in unrestricted net assets in the past two years. COFAM’s financial records prove that they can afford to maintain the workers’ current wage and healthcare plans.
Instead, COFAM management has spent money on $700-an-hour anti-union lawyers who have been attacking worker protections in the contract. SEIU 1021, the museum employees’ union that represents the COFAM nonprofit workers, estimates that the museum has spent $150,000 over ten months which could have been a nearly three percent wage increase for the 100 museum workers. Dragging out the process is a misuse of museum funds.
How you can help!
Support the 100 nonprofit men and women who work hard to provide the city and its patrons with a wonderful place to learn and appreciate fine art. By signing our petition we can leverage community support to put pressure on Charlie Castillo and Michelle Gutierrez-Canepa.